Each day at the clinic, I sit in one of a few infusion rooms, that we affectionately call general population. Of course, we all have our own stories and experiences and, since most of us are here being treated for cancer, the conversations are frequently about that.
One of the gentlemen here has been diagnosed with a Stage 0 esophageal cancer. He and his wife are here and they are from another part of the country. In their hometown, he was pressured to do surgery, chemo, and radiation. For a Stage 0 cancer. What???? Not that there’s not a time and a place for each of those modalities, IMO a Stage 0 cancer is never the time or the place for any of them.
So, they chose to come here instead and do the “minimal force” therapy that made more sense to them. They had a consultation with a radiation oncologist here who does a form of radiotherapy that is supposed to be very targeted. Or so they say. Here’s the thing. Radiation is an extremely powerful form of treatment. It irreversibly changes your very DNA. And the lasting damage it creates can take years to manifest fully. In the process of selling you the latest and greatest radiation treatment du jour, they kind of fail to mention these little details.
They no longer do radical mastectomies. Back in the day, the procedure was known as the Halstead radical mastectomy. They removed not only the breast tissue and glands, but also pectoral muscle beneath them. This procedure is no longer used, but it sure looks as though I had one. Thank you, radiation therapy. That therapy totally destroyed my pectoral muscles, but not right away at all.
But I was a Stage III diagnosis … only one step away from Stage IV, so I can understand them wanting to be aggressive with me. But a Stage 0?!?!?!? Seriously?? My sweet heavens, the lengths our medical profession will go. They will irradiate a healthy man’s esophagus with a tiny thing that might never even grow … but they will pooh-pooh the insulin potentiation that he is here doing.
Just never ceases to amaze me.